Kittum Daniel wrote:I do grass feed beef but I have no idea how well grass feed dairy would do. I would like to see you results because yo may be on to something.
Adam Klaus wrote:For your milking ration, why not stop feeding grain entirely? Even the small amount of grain is having an acidifying effect on the rumen, which changes the gut bacteria in a negative way for the cow's systemic health. If you need something in the milk stanchion, I would recommend a mix of Alfalfa Pellets (50%), Redmond Real Salt (20%), Dried Kelp (20%), and Dried Nettle (10%). These are all super mineral rich supplements for your cow. She will expect her grain at first, but will quickly adjust to the new mix. It is much healthier for the cow than feeding grain of any type.
Wes Hunter wrote:
Where does one go about finding dried nettle? Grow it yourself? Or is there a commercially-available source?
Wes Hunter wrote:
They are perfectly happy without the oats, but I continue to use them because they pass through the gut whole (making me wonder if they're having much acidifying effect) and they encourage the chickens to scratch the patties apart, spreading them around and presumably reducing the fly population. They often defecate as they walk out of the barn after milking, and the hens are all over it as soon as it hits the ground. Maybe they'd still scratch and spread the manure around even without the oats; I haven't tried it long enough to see. In short, I consider the oats chicken feed more than cow feed; the cow is just the carrier. All said, I'd guess the cows get about half a cup of oats per milking. Regardless, I'm not opposed to eliminating them, so long as the chickens would continue their work on the cow patties.
Adam Klaus wrote:My experience with hens around the dairy barn is that they love scratching up cow manure regardless. I don't think they need to be incentivized too much.